First Report on HAI Surveillance Data From California Has Limitations

In late December, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released surveillance data submitted by California hospitals from January 2009 through March 2010 on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in these facilities. The report, mandated by SB 1058 (Chapter 296, Statues of 2008), is a first step toward closer monitoring of these infections in hospital settings and more robust public reporting, according to Dr. Mark Horton, director of the CDPH.

Horton points to what he calls significant limitations to the data provided in this first report, explaining, "The Healthcare-Associated Infections Program was not established until December 2009 and, therefore, CDPH was unable to provide standard guidance to the hospitals during the initial stages of the data collection and reporting. Consequently, standardized surveillance methods were not used to collect and report data. For these reasons, these data cannot be used for comparisons between hospitals."

Horton adds, "CDPH is addressing the data limitations outlined in this report by requiring hospitals to report future healthcare-associated infection surveillance data via the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Healthcare Safety Network, a Web-based reporting software using standardized surveillance definitions. CDPH is strongly committed to working with Californias hospitals to achieve the shared goal of reducing these often preventable and potentially deadly infections."